Labour shift on single market as McDonnell insists Britain can stay in

John McDonnell has appeared to shift Labour’s position on the single market today by saying he is not “ruling anything out”.

The shadow chancellor seemed to carve out a different line from Jeremy Corbyn – who on Sunday said Britain had to come out of the trading bloc during Brexit – as Labour’s internal debate over withdrawal from Europe continues.

McDonnell also insisted that the UK Labour leadership and Welsh party leader Carwyn Jones are “on the same page” on Brexit.

“If Wales is to thrive, we have to have tariff-free access to the single market. Carwyn Jones has said exactly the same as Jeremy Corbyn,” he told the BBC as he campaigned in Pembrokeshire.

Welsh first minister Jones backed staying in the trading bloc in comments earlier this week. 

McDonnell said, as reported by the BBC’s Norman Smith: “Whether we’re in, [single market] whether we’re out, we’re not ruling anything out.”

Corbyn said at the weekend that he would take the country out of the single market if he became prime minister. 

LabourList readers overwhelmingly backed the party adopting a pro-single market position in last week’s survey and the TUC’s EU and international relations head Owen Tudor wrote for us saying that staying in would not mean accepting free movement completely.

More from LabourList